Spooky Spiders are our Friends

Why Your Fear is Misplaced


Photo by Trevor Greenwood

Biology Professor Dr. Robertson holding a Rose Hair Tarantula


They crawl, inching their eight legs along anything they seem fit. Hairy or smooth, these graceful creatures of the night dance along their silky webs which capture their prey. With most spiders hardly even being more than a few inches long, why is there so much fear incited by these tiny creatures?

When polling 15 random students, 9 of them were scared of spiders and of these 9, 6 people were unable to explain why they were scared of spiders.

The fear is biological. When humans were in the early stages of life they learned from the things they saw. Thus, when ancient humans saw other humans die or get sick when being bit by spiders they began to fear them. This fear of spiders was then passed down within human instinct and keeps humans on edge.

Along with this the other key reasons people fear spiders is the same reason they fear insects and that is their movements. Spiders and insects both have erratic movements that humans cannot predict. This lack of predictability sparks fear because humans subconsciously do not like things that are unpredictable to them.

People also tend to think that spiders are highly poisonous or tend to bite people in abundance when this is just not true. Though a lot of spiders have a gland for venom the secretion is hardly dangerous to humans in most cases and only serve as a slight nuisance. Most times spiders will not even bite humans as they are often afraid of humans and only bite people in self defense.

The sad part about this is that people’s’ fear of spiders is often misplaced. These arachnids actually serve as one of the most valuable members of the ecosystem. They are a keystone species that keeps the insect population down so that the insects do not overgraze local plant life.

Spiders also provide the unique benefit of dealing with insects inside homes and buildings as well. Actually if left alone spiders in the home or buildings will take out most of the disease-transfering insects within in the area. With this they also can prevent or stall some major issues such as an bed bug infestations by eating these animals.

While they are creatures of the night and hunters of insects they do not deserve this sigma found around them. Spiders prove to be a valuable resource for humans, so maybe next time one scuttles across the wall or floor it should be spared instead of squashed.

Or you could step on them but watchout, the spider might be pregnant and it’s babies will pop out and scatter. Tarantulas might also not take so kindly to the aggressive attack on them and urticate at people.

Urticating will involve them throwing their irritating hairs directly at people, which can cause numerous itches that last days when getting into a person’s nose. If these hairs hit the eyes, they can even cause temporary blindness.This, however, is no reason to hate these little creatures.